Community-based initiatives in the urban realm what conditions their performance?

Jurian Edelenbos*, Astrid Molenveld, Katerina Mojanchevska, Elena Ensenado, Monserrat Budding Polo Ballinas, Audrey Esteban, Saskia Ruijsink, Malika Igalla, Alexandra Tsatsou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A city is a place where many initiatives, people, and social and urban challenges meet. This article brings together the cumulative knowledge of eight researchers who have been studying community-based initiatives (CBIs) via case studies in various countries. In some countries, citizens were not satisfied with government-provided services, or services were lacking. Governments in other countries faced budget cuts to their public services, which led to a strong call for citizens to take matters into their own hands. There is a lack of research investigating the performance of CBIs and explaining their success and failure. The authors systematically analyze their recent case studies through qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) and try to explain under which conditions CBIs lead to high performance. One of the key findings of this analysis is that proximate conditions related to the CBIs—strong organizational capacity, democratic structure, and leadership—are important for high performance. However, these conditions are not sufficient on their own. Community-based initiatives need a conductive environment to achieve high performance; in our cases, government support and a heterogeneous community or a supportive government attitude was key.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Dec 2020


  • community-based initiatives performance
  • proximate and remote conditions
  • qualitative comparative analysis (QCA)

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